I've had vacations with partners go swimmingly (I mean it, we went to Aruba) but I've also had a few that made me want to yell, "Man overboard!" Don't judge me. You would feel the same way if you were confined to a tiny ship cabin with someone you couldn't help but argue with. That's why, for
tips for traveling with your boyfriend or girlfriend, I turned to relationship coach Adam Maynard.
Left up to me, I'd advise you to cancel the whole thing. Fake a stomach flu. Leave the country (alone!). Change your name. Nothing too drastic, really. Recreate the whole goddamn plot of
Home Alone to get out of it if you have to. It truly amazes me how two people could board a plane or cruise ship totally in love with each other and not return sworn enemies, and I don't think changes in air cabin pressure or limited Wi-Fi access are to blame.
Maynard says, “It’s natural to feel a little frustrated if you’re not traveling in a way that aligns with your interests, ideal pace, and other preferences.” Things like less personal time and space, shifts in your sleeping patterns, and even dietary adjustments while traveling can make you cranky. That doesn't mean you should take out your frustrations on your partner, though.
Here are seven simple strategies Maynard recommends to ensure smooth sailing on your romantic trip with bae.
Talk About Finances Ahead Of Time
According to a recent survey by CreditLoan.com, most people are
more comfortable talking about STDs than they are talking about money. But Maynard says avoiding the topic will only make things worse. “Even if you don’t have a detailed budget, if you can agree on the sort of overall approach you’re comfortable with, you’ll diminish the possibility for disagreements on location,” he explains. You should at least know ahead of time how big of a financial commitment each of you is comfortable making toward the trip.
This may seem less efficient than consolidating your personal items with your partner's to save space and money, but it'll save you the headache in the long run. Maynard tells Elite Daily that packing separately gives you the peace of mind that you have everything you need and that you know exactly where to find it. Closer to your departure date, "You can still pull everything together in a way that makes the most sense to you," he says. Packing cubes are a smart investment because they allow you to pack your things separately and then place them all in one suitcase or carry-on bag.
Share Responsibilities Like Booking, Planning, And Navigating
This is a partnership, after all. Don't let one person do all the planning just because they're super organized or because they say they enjoy it. No one wants to feel like they're being taken advantage of. Maynard adds, “Sharing responsibilities doesn’t just spread the work around. It also helps both parties feel more personally invested in the success of the trip and makes sure their needs are being accounted for each step of the way.” You can start by assigning different tasks to each other that take your interests and skills into account. Translation: Let the foodie pick the restaurants and the Instagram addict pick the sightseeing locations.
Schedule At Least One Solo Activity A Day
According to Maynard, “When you’re caught up in the hustle and bustle of an exciting trip, you don’t always have the opportunity to check in with yourself and take the time you might usually have in your daily life to recenter yourself.” Before you allow this to affect your mood, ask your partner if there's anything they'd like to check out that they didn't suggest because you wouldn't enjoy it. While they're off doing that (with your encouragement and blessing), you can schedule an activity that's more your speed, even if it's just reading a book at the pool. “Having some time and space to reconnect with yourself can help you feel refreshed when you rejoin your partner,” Maynard explains. It's like hitting the pause button on the vacation console to walk around and stretch for a bit.
Check In Periodically With Each Other On The Trip
Remember the buddy system you used on excursions in middle school? We're bringing it back, sort of. At the end of each day, check in with your partner to see what they enjoyed most and what they felt could've been done better. No, it's not a performance review, just a casual conversation to make sure that each day is better than the last. The logic behind it, Maynard says, is this: “If you can address any discomfort or disappointment that’s come up, you won’t carry any of those feelings over into the next day — or repeat the steps that caused them.”
I know I said that you should come up with a plan earlier and I stand by that, but things happen. Torrential downpours ruin 'Grammable beach days. That 15-minute nap might turn into two hours because jet lag doesn't take a vacation. Don't let these minor schedule adjustments ruin your time there. “Surprises are going to come up and plans will change. If you can embrace the unexpected as part of the messy magic of life, you’ll be able to regroup more easily," Maynard says. Keeping a practical list on your phone of all the things you'd like to do on vacation is not the same as creating an hour-by-hour itinerary that doesn't account for bathroom breaks.
Don't Turn It Into A Competition
“When tensions run high it’s easy to view your partner as a foe but it’s important to remember that you’re on the same team. A simple attitude change can make a big difference," Maynard advises. You're not winning if you're having more fun than your partner. In fact, I'd actually declare that a pretty obvious loss. Both of you need to make it to the finish line (read: baggage claim) happily if you're going to call this trip a success.
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